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The Hydro Nation Scholars Programme is part of the Scottish Government’s Hydro Nation strategy. The objective of the strategy is to develop the economic, environmental and social value of Scotland’s water resources. The Hydro Nation Scholars play an important role in supporting this by:

  • developing understanding of how and where best to develop the value of Scotland’s water resources
  • focusing on enhancing Scottish capacity in areas of existing research excellence
  • providing new research and insights where there are gaps related to water resources in Scotland.

Projects with international elements will be expected to recognise and reflect in their design the key territories set out in the Scottish Government’s International Development Framework, and of those Malawi in particular. Projects in other territories can be considered, but priority will be given to projects which can demonstrate a clear understanding of recent or current Hydro Nation international activity.

The Programme and the associated graduate school are managed on behalf of the Scottish Government by the Hydro Nation International Centre at the James Hutton Institute and steered by an Executive Group (HNSEG) drawing on Scotland’s water policy, industry, and academic network.


The Hydro Nation Scholars Programme is an open competition for project topics and then for PhD Scholars to undertake approved projects, hosted within Scottish Universities and Research Institutes.

Full funding is available from the Scottish Government (to host institutions via the Scottish Funding Council) for up to 7 PhD scholarships. Home, EU and international/overseas Scholars can be considered and are defined according to a Scholar’s status for University admissions. The funding available will be in line with the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) doctoral stipend levels and indicative fees.

Scholars will be allocated £2,500 per annum for Travel and Subsistence and all fees and stipend will be covered. Scholars will be funded for 4 years.

Scholars will benefit from specialised programmes provided under the auspices of the Hydro Nation Graduate School.


The following projects are now available for applications:




  • To apply for any of above projects, please visit
  • The projects will be advertised from Friday 5th November 2021 to Friday 7th January 2022. Please visit to view the full project adverts and the contact details of the primary supervisor.
  • Applicants are strongly advised to make an informal enquiry about the PhD to the primary supervisor well before the final submission deadline. 
  • Applicants must send a completed application form (available below), their Curriculum Vitae and a covering letter to the primary supervisor by the final submission deadline of 7th January.
  • Eligibility: Applicants should have a first-class honours degree in a relevant subject or a 2.1 honours degree plus Masters (or equivalent).
  • Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed on 27th or 28th January 2022.
  • Although approved for advertisement, this does not mean that the project has been successful in securing the funding from the Scottish Government.
  • PhD candidates for approved advertised projects will be interviewed with recommendations made to the Scottish Government, who will take the final decision on the award of Scholarships.


Summary timetable for recruitment for 2022

Advertisement of Approved Projects

5th November 2021

Deadline for Scholar Applications

7th January 2022

PhD Scholar Interviews

27th and 28th January 2022

Final Decisions on PhD Scholars

Mid-February 2022


The HNSP Scholar Application form for the 2022 call can be downloaded here.